Removing Analytics to Rediscover Writing

UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2024 : 532 words, 3 minute read β€” WRITING

I’m turning off traffic analytics for my personal blog. It’s a journey back to the heart of writing, finding solace in the quiet, and rekindling the pleasure of writing without the pressure of numbers.

Why did i add them? πŸ”—︎

I originally added privacy-first analytics to my personal blog with the intention to add extra motivation to my growing writing habit. In my head, being able to see which articles were most popular would be a positive.

To be completely honest, I also had a fantasy of seeing “Number Go Up” and eventually becoming like the great engineer writers I love reading, like Gergely , patio11 , ben kuhn , etc.

I’m also a sucker for easily trackable metrics, despite often being an inadequate reflection of what I’m aiming for.

State of my blog traffic & sources πŸ”—︎

I was starting to get decent traffic - nothing to write home about, but ~2,000 people a month reading the words I mushed together. The rest of my sites get ~10 views a month, so it feels like a lot to me!

Most of my traffic β€” like 99% of it β€” was coming from Google & going to the same five articles. They were ones I wrote to test out what I’d learned about SEO. The remaining 1% of traffic was thinly spread across my other 80+ posts.

It took a while to realize, but eventually I noticed my publishing frequency had dropped to almost nothing. The last 6-12 months I’ve barely published, and it’s not because my life situation changed drastically. When I took time to reflect on why, my gut pointed me towards analytics as a contributing factor.

Why analytics was negative πŸ”—︎

The venn diagram of the topics I’m excited about, barely overlapping the topics that people search for

I turned analytics off a couple weeks ago to experiment & “shake the snow globe” . So far, I haven’t felt like anything is missing from life, and I’m starting to feel excited about writing again. If I had to pin down why I think analytics was negative for me:

  • The venn diagram of articles I get excited to write about & the ones which get traffic has a very small overlap.
  • It’s demotivating to see articles i worked hard on get 0 views week after week, while a low-effort SEO experiment keeps growing.
  • In some ways I felt like focusing on a flawed, but easily trackable metric led me to losing the intrinsic value of the creative process that had me start a blog in the first place.

Blog Distribution

I have to take some responsibility for the lack of diversity in traffic sources, since I do a horrible job of marketing/distributing my articles. Of course SEO will be the only source of traffic if I don’t put myself out there.

Hello silence my old friend πŸ”—︎

So for now - I’m leaving analytics off.

I envision my digital garden as SchrΓΆdinger’s blogβ€”an unobserved realm where traffic is both abundant and non-existent. By refraining from peeking into the proverbial box, I am freeing myself to write authentically and explore diverse topics without the looming influence of metrics. I embrace the idea that I am both the writer and sole reader, finding joy in the uninhibited expression of my thoughts and ideas.

See Also